The Sacrament of Penance

Jude Missa

We humans, including Christians, are made vulnerable when we sin. Most of our sins are venial that must be cleansed not only in our mind also in our soul. That is why our Lord instituted the sacrament of penance so we
can receive absolution.

What is the Sacrament of Penance? 

The Sacrament of Penance is where the sins that we committed after Baptism are forgiven through absolution. This is where our Sanctifying Grace was restored after baptism. 

Who can administer the Sacrament of Penance? 

Only the Priest can administer this sacrament and give absolution to those who confess their sins. 

What are the three distinct acts of this Sacrament? 
  1. Contrition or sorrow for his sins 
  2. Confession or telling them to the priest
  3. Satisfaction or performance of the Penance imposed by the priest. 
When did Christ institute the Sacrament of Penance? 

In Matthew 16:19, our Lord Jesus Christ promised to give St. Peter the Apostle the power to forgive sins: “And whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”. Then in Matthew 18:18, he made the same promise to the other apostles. In John 20:21-23, after the resurrection of our Lord, He appeared to His Apostles and breathed upon them and said to them: “Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” This promise is not only for the apostles, but also for the next generation of priests under the Catholic Church, the only church that our Lord Jesus Christ builds upon St. Peter. 

What are the effects of the Sacrament of Penance? 
  1. The restoration or increase of Sanctifying Grace. 
  2. The forgiveness of sins. 
  3. The remission of the eternal punishment, if necessary, and also of part, at least, of the temporal punishment due to our sins. 
  4. The help to avoid sin in the future. 
  5. The restoration of the merits of our good works, if they have been lost by mortal sins. 
What is difference of sins that has been forgiven in the Sacrament of Baptism and Penance? 

The sins that have been forgiven or cleansed during the Sacrament of Baptism is the Original Sins that Adam and Even made. While in the Sacrament of Penance, the sins that have been given absolution is the that we made that offend our Lord. 

What is the Seal of Confession? 

The Seal of Confession is where the Priest cannot tell anyone someone’s confession. They are bound to secrecy. Some people, including those in Government don’t like this Seal of Confession. For example, someone steals a money from the bank or killed another person; confess to the priest, the priest is not allowed to tell it to anyone including the police. BUT, he must encourage this person to surrender as an act of contrition. 

How many times should we take the Sacrament of Penance? 

The priest always reminds us to take this sacrament at least once a year. But when we made sins everytime, even if it is a venial, we must confess it to the Priest including before receiving the Holy Eucharist because we cannot receive our Lord if we are not in the state of grace. 

“Confession is the soul’s bath. You must go at least once a week. I do not want souls to stay away from confession more than a week. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!” -St. Padre Pio 


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